West Meets East

A Western man travels East in search of love, opportunity and happiness.

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Name:Michael Strickland

This blog chronicles my adventures as I leave my native California and travel east to northern Virginia to start a new life. I can only imagine the funny stories I'll recount here as I experience a wildly different climate, culture and way of life.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Preparations and Reflections

After I received a job offer from AOL, things started moving very fast. I had to give my current employer notice, pack up my apartment, see friends and family for the last time, drive across the country, and find a new place to live in Virginia. All this and more not by mid-October, when I start at AOL, but by early October, in time to fly to the Bahamas for a scuba diving trip CJ and I planned months ago. The timing of that trip couldn’t have been worse, but I don’t expect much sympathy for being inconvenienced by a tropical vacation.

It’s been an exhausting process so far, packing up my apartment. On the surface, it seemed that selling almost everything and taking only what I can fit in my Xterra would make the process much easier. In fact, going through all of my belongings, deciding what to keep and what to give up, has in some ways been much more labor-intensive. Continual distractions challenge me: coming across my junior high school yearbook, discovering my baby pictures, looking at old Navy medals. Last night, I closed my eyes for a moment while browsing through a journal full of notes for my first screenplay, and when I opened them again, it was 3:00 a.m. and all the lights were still on.

A week from today, I’ll put California in my rear view mirror for the last time. The next seven days will be a blur, as I prepare for that journey. During the few moments when I’ll have time to think, I’m sure my mind will spin with conflicting emotions. Other than a few years spent elsewhere, I’ve lived most of my life in southern California. My roots here are not deep—after all, this is flaky, shallow California—but I have many memories. Despite the excitement I feel, this relocation will surely induce a lot of reflection. Which in itself will be an adventure.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Die is Cast

I've given notice to my employer and my landlord. I've announced my departure to family and friends. I've told the utility companies to shut me off. I'm about to sell all the possessions I can't fit into my SUV. In short, the die is cast. If my life were a manuscript, I'd be typing this chapter's last sentence, about to put a new, blank sheet in the typewriter.

So how do I feel? Excited? Nervous? Sad? Expectant? Exhausted? Sure, all of those. But if I had to pick one word, probably "impatient." I have needed a change since long before I met CJ. Those who know me know that. Meeting and falling in love with a woman who lives 3,000 miles away was random serendipity—or was it? Maybe if I weren't so open to change, I wouldn't have answered the door when opportunity came knocking. I've gone through big changes before: spending a year in Honduras in high school, joining the Navy, moving to new cities where I didn't know anyone, going to law school. But I've never felt so ready to start the next chapter as I do now. It's like I've spent the last three years spinning my wheels, and now, finally, I feel rubber grabbing asphalt.

So yes, in a word, I'm impatient. It's time to cast off the bowline. Put it in gear. Take the plunge. Get the show on the road. (And, above all, it's time to kill the clichés.) Adventure lies ahead, stagnancy behind. Come with me via this blog as I write the first words of life's next chapter.